Situated in a 17th century vaulted cellar in the heart of old Copenhagen is Restaurant AOC, a Michelin starred restaurant that focuses on sensory eating. We joined chef Søren Selin for a discussion about the concept, menu inspirations, and future ventures.
What influences your food and menu?
Nature and the changing seasons. We seek to display what is wonderful from our local nature. We have a modern approach to cooking, but try to not let techniques steal the spotlight from the raw material.
How often is your menu changing?
We change the menu according to the seasons, so we are always in the process of changing one or two dishes.
Can you tell us about some of your signature dishes?
We have a dessert that involves burning some Jerusalem artichoke “paper”. It gives a nice crispness and some smokey flavor to the dish. I am really excited about this dish even though we have had it on the menu for quite a while.
What’s your philosophy for plating food?
I think you should take great care to plate dishes so they look beautiful, delicious or surprising. Because it heightens the flavor. If you plate a dish just right, you make it taste better because you heighten the senses of the guests.
What’s your process for creating a plate concept?
First I find the flavor combination, I make all kinds of mis en place, and then I make the dish again and again until I am satisfied. I do this because I want to discover the core of the ingredients.
How do you keep your team inspired to cook and create?
I try to lead by example – making food that excites me and involving the chefs in the process.
The restaurant opened in 2009 and a year later it was awarded its’ first Michelin star. How has the restaurant changed since then?
Having a Michelin star means a lot. I think it helps us attract the best and brightest professionals in the industry.
We hear you’re opening a new restaurant called NO2. What can you tell us about this new venture? Why now?
We want to create a more informal restaurant where we can do all the things that we don’t do in AOC. We will have a big a la carte menu in NO2. In AOC we have a tasting menu. We will still be using the best local ingredients that we can get our hands on, but it will be a more simple approach to cooking as opposed to the more elaborate cooking we do in AOC.